Ted Eytan via Creative Commons

The 2023 legislative session is evidence that the work of making Connecticut a place of acceptance and inclusivity is vibrant. However, the state continues to fail at providing adequate housing resources for individuals, especially those who are queer and Black.

Connecticut’s failure to address the specific needs of the queer community in the housing sector is disheartening, but not surprising. This neglect is a stark reminder that for us at Black Infinity Collective (BIC), that part of our core mission includes housing accessibility across the state for those who continue to fall through the cracks.

Ashleigh Blount

The experiences of queer folks facing housing insecurity and discrimination cannot be summarized in one sentence or captured in the many state-wide housing surveys. They are distinct and complex. Many folks encounter bias, prejudice, and even violence, leading to higher rates of homelessness and housing instability. As a result of exclusionary gendered practices, housing research and resource allocation, folks who are non-binary or transgender often fall through the cracks.

The inability to access resources because of gendered specifications causes discrimination and allows those in need to be taken advantage of. We have continued to omit the realities of our trans community because of the way we historically tracked housing disparities. As a state that continues to pass legislation to aid its diverse population and that prides itself on embracing diversity, we must do more to ensure all residents of Connecticut have a chance at fair housing.

Connecticut’s lagging response to this issue perpetuates the systemic inequalities queer individuals face. It opens the door for slumlords to take advantage of those who need safe housing the most. The lack of targeted resources and support networks only exacerbates challenges queer folks already encounter. Our state government needs to recognize that housing is a human right and to take proactive steps to address these glaring gaps in creating a just housing system.

We have seen a glimmer of hope with the recent passage of SB998, (An Act Establishing A Tax Abatement For Certain Conservation Easements And Addressing Housing Affordability For Residents In The State), which provides increased protections against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in the housing market, among other increased rights for renters. While SB998 is a step in the right direction, it is only the beginning of a broader effort to rectify the housing disparities experienced in Connecticut. More work is to be done.

Connecticut must invest in comprehensive programs that address the specific needs of queer folks, including affordable housing initiatives, anti-discrimination enforcement, and support services tailored to our unique experiences.

To effect real change, Connecticut’s lawmakers, community organizations, and residents must collectively unite. Black Infinity Collection (BIC) plans to support and advocate for improved housing justice in the state. We will continue to call upon the state government to allocate resources and funding to organizations dedicated to addressing the housing challenges faced by queer folks.

Moreover, public awareness and education play a crucial role in dismantling the stigma and bias perpetuating housing disparities. BIC will host community-based initiatives, workshops, and campaigns to implement and raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by Black queer folks in the housing market. By fostering empathy, understanding, and acceptance, we can create a more inclusive society that embraces and supports all its members.

Connecticut has an opportunity to champion the rights of queer folks in the housing sector by taking bold and decisive action. We believe we can build a future where everyone has access to safe, affordable, and welcoming housing.

Let us seize this moment to drive change, to advocate for comprehensive housing resources and support systems that uplift queer folks and celebrate diversity. Let’s carry the momentum of the passage of SB998 into continuing this transformative journey toward true housing equality for all.

Ashleigh Blount is a member of the Black Infinity Collective.